Cost of running three city departments multiplies



Nancy Johnson: Cheap by comparison
  • Nancy Johnson: Cheap by comparison

After the sudden resignation of Nancy Johnson earlier this year, three major functions were left without a leader inside the Colorado Springs city government.

But that's changing. Planning has an interim director, public works has a new director, and today, the city announced that Mayor Steve Bach has appointed a parks director pending City Council approval.

That's right, three people have replaced Johnson, who served as deputy chief of staff, and head of parks, planning and public works — all for the single salary of $147,657 a year.

Helen Migchelbrink, the newly appointed director of public works, makes $125,000 a year. Kyle Campbell, interim director of planning, makes an astonishing $175 an hour, or $364,000 a year if he works full time. Karen Palus, the candidate for director of parks, will make $128,000 a year assuming she is confirmed.

That's a total of $617,000, or more than four times what Johnson was paid for the same duties. Even if Campbell only works 20 hours a week, the total still comes to a whopping $435,000.

Mayor announces Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

Mayor Steve Bach announced this morning the appointment of a new Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, pending confirmation by City Council on Tuesday, April 24. After a comprehensive two-month recruitment and interview process with over 120 nationwide applicants, Karen Palus was selected by the Mayor and will begin her position with the City of Colorado Springs on Monday, June 18, 2012. Ms. Palus will earn a salary of $128,000 per year.

“Karen's extensive experience in park and recreation, as well as her leadership at the local, state and national levels will be a great asset to Colorado Springs.” said Mayor Bach.

Karen brings over 20 years of parks and recreational experience with both city and county government. Most recently she served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Tampa where she worked for seven years. During that time, Karen successfully attained National Accreditation by the Commission of Accreditation (CAPRA) for the City of Tampa's Parks and Recreation Department. Ms. Palus developed a park in the downtown core of the City of Tampa, after which time the park received numerous awards and was named one of the top ten new parks in the country for 2011. She was the recipient of the Fellow Award, Achievement Award, Outstanding Service Award and Agency Excellence Award from the Florida Recreation and Park Association.

Ms. Palus began her career in Recreation for Brevard County Government in Florida. She also worked in recreation for Martin County and Orange County. Karen has a Bachelor's Degree in Education and a Masters in Public Administration. She is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional as well as a Certified Youth Sports Administrator. She served as the Florida Recreation and Park Association President in 2004 and has been on their board of directors since 1997. She currently serves as the Head Faculty and Chairwoman for the Joe Abrahams Leadership Academy and is a trustee of the Florida Recreation and Park Association Foundation.

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